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MFA Expands Clinical Reach in District of Columbia

The George Washington University (GW) is expanding its clinical enterprise with a recent contract awarded to the GW Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) by United Medical Center (UMC). As of April 1, the MFA began providing physicians and advanced practice providers to staff UMC’s adult emergency services. Starting this July, the MFA also will be in charge of its hospitalist services.

The agreement represents a tremendous opportunity both to expand GW’s clinical partnerships and to provide more specialist physician in an area that’s been medically underserved, said Robert Shesser, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and professor of emergency medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. UMC is a nonprofit community hospital that serves southeast D.C. and nearby Maryland communities.

“Residents of Wards 7 and 8 must often travel outside of the area to get specialty medical care, and if the MFA continues to expand its presence at UMC, it will be able to provide patients care closer to home. That’s also consistent with the mission of the university: to be a good neighbor in D.C. and provide services to fragile populations,” Shesser said. “The MFA also sees an opportunity to create growth and provide new training opportunities for GW medical students, allied health students, and residents”

In addition, GW has an existing contract for physician assistant students to rotate at UMC and Shesser said they hope to create an elective rotation for emergency medicine residents in the next academic year, making UMC a formal part of the emergency medicine residency program by in 2019.

Right now, the MFA is setting its sights on the transition at UMC, said Rachel Mazzotta, MHSA, practice group administrator for emergency medicine at the MFA. The faculty are thrilled to have the opportunity to work in Wards 7 and 8, she said. “We do support that community here, through the hospital and MFA, but this is a more focused effort, being more present by being physically over there,” she added.

As for the hospitalist services, Delores Jewell, MSN, associate chair for finance and operations in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacy at the MFA, said they’re currently in the discovery phase.

“We realized that from a hospitalist perspective, the patients were being underserved because they were being managed by physicians largely at a distance,” she said. “We think we are going to give a much better level of service as we will have physicians 24/7 on site. Partnering with our emergency room, I think, will help facilitate patient flow and vastly improve the quality of care.”

In addition to UMC, the MFA recently bought four Metro Immediate and Primary Care (MIPC) offices and integrated the provider group into the MFA’s Department of Emergency Medicine. There are three offices in Washington, D.C., and one in Silver Spring, Maryland, according to Shesser.

Because currently GW doesn’t have a department of family medicine, he hopes the MIPC offices will ultimately be staffed by academic family medicine physicians.

“The Department of Emergency Medicine is very enthusiastic about providing both episodic urgent care and longitudinal primary care at MIPC,” Shesser added. “We look forward to having academic family physicians join our practice and participate in some of the department’s existing academic programs that have relevance to both specialties.”